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Major Spotlight Series: Chemistry, Computer Science, Physics

The science-based majors listed below are each offered through the College of Science and Engineering (bachelor of science degree) and the College of Liberal Arts (bachelor of arts degree). 

In addition to the benefits of learning from world-class faculty and utilizing state-of-the-art facilities, students who are seeking a science-based career can also utilize the Career Center for Science and Engineering to work on their resumé, participate in mock interviews, learn about internship and co-op opportunities, and more.

To learn more about U of M major options, visit: http://admissions.tc.umn.edu/admissioninfo/fresh_acadprog.html.

Major: Chemistry

(College of Science and Engineering, College of Liberal Arts)

Description: Chemists interact with nature at a fundamental, molecular level. This field of science impacts medicine, materials science, genetics, biology, pharmacy, food science, and environmental science. The curriculum encompasses the major subfields of chemistry including theories, techniques, and tools. It also includes chemistry, physics, mathematics, and the liberal arts. Students select an emphasis area from the following:

  • Bioscience and bioproducts
  • Chemical physics
  • Chemistry education
  • Environmental chemistry
  • Materials chemistry 

Examples of Careers: Biochemist, microbiologist, industrial hygienist, analytic chemist, pharmaceutical chemist, crime lab analyst, researcher, or food technologist


Major: Computer Science

(College of Science and Engineering, College of Liberal Arts)

Examples of Careers: Researcher, Computer Communication Specialist, Computer Engineer, Robotics Engineer, Software or Hardware Developer, Systems and Security Administrator or Web Designer

Description: Computer scientists develop programming languages and operating systems, design computer software and hardware, apply computational techniques to other sciences, investigate social uses of computing, and advance new technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics. Students will learn to design and analyze computer systems, to use them to solve practical problems, and to assess their limitations. They use state-of-the-art computing platforms and instructional facilities and also have access to special research facilities like the Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Vision Laboratory, which includes a lab devoted to undergrads.

Major: Computer Engineering

(College of Science and Engineering)

Description: Computer engineers design, build, test, and install high-tech computing devices or everything from supercomputers to toys. This in-demand field includes hardware, software, and systems that contain microprocessors or microcontrollers. Students in this major learn to integrate hardware and software into systems that deliver power, performance, safety, security, and reliability. Seniors choose one of the following emphasis areas:

  • Computer Architecture
  • Computer Networks
  • Software Engineering
  • Microprocessor and Microcontroller Systems
  • Computer-Aided Circuit Design

Examples of Careers: custom computer designer, computer chip designer, software designer, computer network engineer, electronic systems designer, hardware engineer, development engineer, or systems engineer

Major: Physics

(College of Science and Engineering, College of Liberal Arts)

Description: Physics students study the basic principles that govern time, space, energy, and matter from the smallest subatomic particles to the entire Universe. Students learn how everything fits together while preparing for a career in industry, research, or teaching. Undergraduates in this major choose from five emphasis areas:

  • Professional physics
  • Engineering
  • Biology
  • Teaching
  • Computation

Examples of Careers:  Advanced research in industry, government laboratories, or universities, teaching in a high school or college, public policy, gateway to economics, engineering, journalism, law, or medicine, product development, technical sales, or investments management.

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